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Polish military police train with MRAPs at Grafenwoehr

Jun 25, 2010

By Spc. Cortnee Falconer, 126th Press Camp Headquarters, Michigan Army National Guard

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Trainers signal as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles lumber around bright orange cones on a rainy day in the Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA) May, 24, 2010. Today, service members belonging to a Polish Military Police unit carefully watch their mirrors as while an instructor guides them around the obstacle course.

The top heavy vehicles force the drivers to focus as they carefully navigate between narrow spaces, reverse around barely visible cones, and zig-zag around obstacles. This course is a sample of what the Military Police (MP) Gliwice unit will face in a week and half in Afghanistan. The Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC) provided the Polish MPs a chance to drive an MRAP and work side by side with the U.S. Army before heading downrange.

Course manager, Staff Sgt. Corey Burse stresses the importance to all Soldiers to be trained on the vehicles. "MRAP's are in the greatest of demands downrange. If a surprise happens I want them to be ready," said Burse.

The U.S. Army believes the MRAP vehicle helps save Soldier's lives. They are armored, have bullet proof glass, used in route clearance, and in countering Improvised Explosive Devices, which are still a major contributor to soldier injuries and fatalities.

Burse says that soldiers should train just like they fight and train on the equipment they will see in Afghanistan. Tactics taught to Soldiers in the JMTC classroom have been shaped by experiences and lessons learned from encounters in Iraq.

The hands-on portion of the MRAP class put to the test what the Polish MP unit learned earlier in the week. The MRAP vehicles are a mirror of what the unit will be driving while deployed to Afghanistan and the intent of the course is to afford vehicle familiarization.

A two year Polish Army veteran, Robert Wojtaszewski praised the training. When asked about his favorite part Wojtaszewski grinned and said, "I like being in the driver's seat, I'm in power yes?"

The clear formation and friendly advice of the instructors made the course easily understood regardless of the difference in languages.

"All Soldiers speak the language of Soldiers so we can understand each other," said Staff Sgt. Mivoslaw Piwko, a member of the Polish unit. "Everybody thinks and does what they have to do, what the mission needs them and me to do. I like this job."

Piwko commented on how more professionalized the Polish Army tactics have become since training with units at JMTC as compared to previous training in the past ten years he has been a Soldier. The unit also has better equipment and due to alliances made with multinational partners.

George Broboszcz, training in the GTA for the first time, thought the course was generally cool and looked forward to driving and familiarizing himself with the vehicle, "because we use those vehicles down there."

The MP Gliwice unit is station at Camp Algiers for a week of training before continuing on downrange.

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